Jack and Sabatron

What is ‘success’? Following the career your parents wanted but in your heart you wanted to be an artist, a nurse, a singer? Getting the house with a huge mortgage because that’s what society says you must do? Being top of your class so you get praise at home but really hate school?

Or is success failing and getting back up, admitting the relationship we’re in is wrong and leaving, quitting the well paid job to follow our heart’s desire?

These a questions for you.

With Pauline’s permission we’ve been allowed, asked to tell to full story

of Jack’s day. A day that started with him waking at 4am so excited he

wanted to leave as soon as possible, included refusing to join us for lunch

and telling us Given To Live is stupid and we’re fools. And he was within

this close, so very damn close to refusing to go to the show at all. It was

too much. To be valued, cared about, loved by the comments that came in

from all over the world. The presentation of his poster and reading the

first comment was too much. I don’t deserve this.

But you do, Jack.

You do. On Saturday Given To Live was able to see success and

heartbreaking failure all in one day. Jack is complex. With complicated

issues and a tendency to act out when feeling anxious. Humour or lashing

out are defence mechanisms. Much, much later the humour came, first

the lashing out at GTL as an organisation, us as individuals and also mum and dad. Mum and dad running up and down to his room to beg, cajole,

plead with him to come to lunch.

Then again when it came to meet at the lobby at 6 to go to the show, more pleading.

Three times. The last time somehow worked. On the one hand leaving him behind may

have helped teach him there’s consequences for his actions but the thought of his heartbreak as everyone else went to the show without him warranted one last try.

And he said yes! He put his shoes on and it was time for his first ever gig.

Before the show the wonderful Claire from Nuclear blast came to visit and give Jack goodies from Sabaton HQ including a signed photo and a damn fine Nuclear Blast shirt. Thank you Claire & Lisa

We’d been given passes to a quiet lounge so all was well until we went into the support band. Jack’s anxiety kicked in hard, very hard and he need air and at the same time his legs simply wouldn’t work. He couldn’t move. Frozen. After a while the security in our section negotiated and Jack got his air, he calmed down some.

But the sheer volume of people and sensory overload was too much so while mum and dad watched the show we listen from the concourse on a sofa and with some, a lot of encouragement, we popped into see Sabaton for a few minutes. It was enough and the rest of the show Jack explained what each song was about, giving me a history lesson.

He was fun, charming, chatty. The terrified, angry young man has

disappeared. We left during the last song and met mum & dad in the hotel

bar and soon Jack was needing his room, his bed with his new Sabaton

tee shirt after our trip to the merch stand.

What is success? It means different things to different people. To Jack,

after a lot of patience it meant he got to go to Sabaton. He saw them live

performing and those few minutes mean so, so very much. He’s been to a

gig, something so easy, so taken for granted by so many of us.

Yes, being rude and lashing out due to anxiety doesn’t help him. It leaves

him isolated and afraid. How do we teach kindness to someone whose

defense is anger? To hurt. As mum says, he feels so worthless he tries to

make others feel the same. Jack has a tough journey ahead. He can only

take a few of your comments at a time because he doesn’t understand

people's care, that he’s worthy of kindness and compassion. But he is.

He definitely is. Maybe the healing will take years, maybe sooner but we can all heal our wounds if we are willing and have people who don’t turn their backs on us.

Jack is definitely an ok kid, yes, he can be mean and unkind but it’s born of fear. Our job is to not turn our backs on the hurting, the flawed. It’s to stand by their side and try to teach them to be better.

We can all be better people...but do we have the courage to face our fears. Jack did, he saw Sabaton. And that is huge. And he is happy for him to be seen, for his photos to be shown. Courage comes in many forms, Jack has shown a lot.

We were genuinely hurt by what he said at times, we’re also very proud of him for turning things around.

Jack created his own success, that's something very special.



Giant, huge thank yous to...

Lisa & Claire from Nuclear Blast

Jonnathon at Hilton London Wembley you for doing so much for Jack.

Michelle The Boss Cosa Nostra PR for your help; as ever a 🌟

Rosella at The SSE Arena, Wembley thank you. And if you could find out who was security at N6 please pass on our thanks. He did everything he could to make Jack comfortable.

Peggs...Jack loves your poster. Thank you so much.

To everyone who left a message for Jack. He will get through them all in his own time and is grateful. It's just a little overwhelming for him in one bite.

Jack, thank you. For being you, for being wise and mature enough to know sometimes, however much we’re hurting, we can back down. And the history lesson! I definitely learned more from you than my teachers at school.

Pauline & Steve, mum & dad, you were amazing in the face of chaos and uncertainty.